Liquor traders call for lifting of alcohol restrictions

A coalition of liquor traders in South Africa has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa and government to immediately lift the existing restrictions on the sale of alcohol.

The coalition comprises of the National Liquor Traders Council (NLTC) and Liquor Traders Association of South Africa (LTASA), representing a high proportion of township-based taverns, bottle stores and independently-owned retail liquor traders.

Under current regulations, the sale of liquor for home consumption is allowed only on weekdays 9am and 5pm. The coalition says the move will ensure the livelihoods of workers and ensure job security.

Lucky Ntimane from the National Liquor Council says a five-day-a-week restricted environment, for off-site consumption has forces some sellers to retrench some of their workers and/or reduce salaries by almost 29%.

He says allowing liquor traders to return to selling their products everyday will also help stem the spread of the coronavirus, as many will drink at home and not flood restaurants and bars.

Last month, the National Liquor Traders Council expressed concern about continued restrictions on the sale of alcohol. Restrictions on the sale of alcohol during the lockdown have been a bone of contention between government and industry stakeholders.

South Africa officially entered Alert level one of the nationwide lockdown in September.